Geologists have unraveled the mystery of the Himalayas and the Indian Plate
120-55 million years ago, India was the fastest tectonic plate in the history of the Earth, moving at a speed of 20 cm per year towards Eurasia. As a result of the collision of two continents formed the highest mountain system, the Himalayas, which continues to grow to this day. The reliable reason for such a rapid movement of the Indian Plate was never established, but now geologists seem to be as close as possible to the answers.
Actually, the status of the fastest part of the world, the Indostan platform holds today: it is also moving north, moving away by 5 cm per year. For comparison, the Eurasian tectonic plate shifts by no more than 2 cm per year, which is interesting in the same northern direction. This process leads to the further accumulation of subcontinents, which in turn leads to the growth of the Himalayas and the entire Tibetan highlands.
The results of a study by geologists from the University of Massachusetts indicate that the movement of India was accelerated by two large subduction zones – zones in which tectonic plates fall forehead head-on, the less dense of them sinks under another deep into the earth’s mantle. According to scientists, in this situation the plate that was lowered is able to literally pull along the neighboring section of the earth’s crust, on which the Indian plate was located.
The connection of the Indian platform with subduction zones and the acceleration resulting from it perfectly agreed with the results of computer simulation. According to preliminary estimates by scientists, the mysterious acceleration of India was the result of the “layering” of oceanic plates, which led to the actual “extrusion” of the subcontinent from the initial section of the earth’s crust.
The very hypothesis of the two subduction zones on the territory of the modern Indian Ocean itself is indicated by a whole range of large submarine volcanoes that suddenly appeared about 80 million years ago.
There is also another theory. According to German geologists, the reason for the rapid movement of the Indian plate may lie in its small (half) thickness compared to other platforms, which in ancient times were a single supercontinent, Gondwan.